Resuming training for an endurance A race post crash (fractured elbow & ribs)

Hey Trainerroad’ers :slightly_smiling_face:
I love the podcast and always get a lot out of your advice to others. It’s time for me to ask for some help too!
5 weeks ago i suffered an open right olecranon fracture and several broken ribs in a bike crash. I have a plate and several pins in my elbow and have just been cleared for range of motion rehab plus structured indoor training.
I have an A race in March 2020 that is 235kms with 4,000+m of climbing. After 5 weeks in hospital or recovering at home and zero training, to say i’m anxious is an understatement!
I am 17 weeks out and won’t be cleared to ride outside for at least another 6-8 weeks.
Looking at the Trainerroad plans, i think my approach should be Sweetspot Base for 6 weeks followed by Sustained Power Build? I don’t think i have time for any speciality work but am hoping my pre-crash fitness (which was capable of 130km/160km days) will respond well to the base and build work to carry me through.
All advice appreciated! (a.k.a Jilly in Melbourne)

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I broke 4 ribs mid-summer, but a broken kneecap kept me totally off the bike for 6 weeks or so. When I got cleared to ride again I was surprised that my endurance power target was almost unchanged. If an endurance ride was 120min at 180-200W before the accident there wasn’t much loss after the injuries.

Anything above endurance pace was definitely hampered by the inactivity. There were some major declines, but eventually came back over then next 8 weeks.

Once my ribs healed I had some painful issues involving the muscles around the shoulder blade. This was the limiting factor on endurance rides. The issue was due to these muscles not working while the ribs were hurting. Some fairly simple physical therapy exercises got this back to normal.

Awesome, thank you so much! :slight_smile:

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Thanks for sharing your inspiring recovery story. it’s really good to hear about your experience with fitness loss :slight_smile:

Ouch! I’m in pain just from reading about your crash.

The normal progression for these events would be SSBI > SSBII > SPB > Century. Overlaid on this is the standard advice that if you don’t have enough time to complete the sequence, just get along as far as you can (with the appropriate pre-event taper).

The first couple of rides back should just be recovery efforts, just to check everything is working as it should, and also to get your muscles used to cycling again.

SSB is in fact 2 x 6 week blocks, so a total of 12 weeks. Plus 5 out of 8 weeks of SPB. You may want to tweak SPB slightly to include some longer 20 and 30 min sweet spot intervals - these are really good at preparing for long climbs.

Hopefully in February, you can do something like Warburton-Marysville return. If you can do that, then that should be a confidence builder that your body and your training can handle the demands of 3 Peaks, plus a good test of your nutrition and equipment set-up.

I think you’ve already received some great advice so I’ve got nothing else to add I’m afraid.

What I would like to say is that I hope your recovery goes well, keep your spirits up and good luck with your event. Please do let us know how you get on :+1:

Thank you SO much for the advice! Great to have input from a local, especially one who knows the demands of 3 Peaks. It’s got the best of me once before (withdrew at Angler’s Rest), and i was determined to put that right in 2020! I’m going to look into a Warburton-Marysville return route as you suggest. Cheers :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for the kind message. I really appreciate it :slight_smile: